The ballots for the August 2019 Union County election primary will have the names of far fewer candidates than did those printed for 2015 primaries. That year 54 candidates sought office, but only 29 people are running for Union County jobs in 2019.
Less interest in public service than four years ago? Economy stronger, so fewer people need good jobs? Perhaps the retirement of two long-serving county supervisors attracted more candidates to those $40,000 per year “part-time” jobs in 2015.
For some reason far more candidates wanted to represent the GOP in the 2015 primaries than want to wear the Republican colors this year. There was a record 17 candidates seeking office as Republicans. This year only ten candidates have signed up to run in the Republican primaries, and two of those are incumbent office holders, elected as Democrats in 2015, who are switching horses to run for the same jobs this year as Republicans.
Union County Sheriff’s race
Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards, the incumbent Democrat, is completing his second four-year term and is running again as a Democrat. This year, Edwards is challenged for the Democratic nomination by Danny Dillard. Two of the 10 Republican candidates this year are running for sheriff. They are Brandon W. Garrett and William Ashley Kidd.
In 2015 Edwards was challenged for the Democratic nomination by a popular three-term former sheriff. Edwards won the nomination easily with 70 percent of the Democratic primary vote. Edwards then whipped a Republican in the November general elections with 77 percent of the vote.
Union County Board of Supervisors’ races
The Union County Board of Supervisors, which serves both administrative and legislative functions in Mississippi, has contests for four of its five seats.
Incumbent District One Supervisor Evan Denton, a first termer, faces four Democratic challengers in the primary, and will face a Republican in the general election. Democrats filed against Denton include Carl Graham, Gary Floyd, Sam Taylor and Paul Patterson. Jerry C. Burk is the only Republican running for the District One seat on the county board and is the presumptive GOP nominee.
First term Democrat incumbent District Two Supervisor Chad Coffey drew no Democratic Party opponent, but will face Republican Jim Gann in the November General election.
The most interesting county board race is in District Three. Incumbent David A. Kitchens, a Democrat, defeated his Democratic primary opponent, C. J. Bright, in 2015 by just one vote. Kitchens received 477 votes in the Democratic run-off for the District Three board position and Bright got 476 votes. Bright declined to request a recount in 2015.
Kitchens went on to handily defeat both a Republican and an Independent in the general election.
However, this year C. J. Bright filed for the District Three seat on the Board of Supervisors in the Republican Primary. But Kitchens also changed parties, and is running as a Republican this year to attempt to retain the seat he won four years ago as a Democrat. No Democrats are filed for the District Three seat on the board, so either Kitchens or Bright will win.
District Four Supervisor Randy Owen, a Democrat, the most senior member of the Board of Supervisors, is running for re-election as a Democrat. He his challenged in the primary by Keith Roberts. The Democratic winner will face Republican Junior Courtney in the November general election.
District Five Supervisor Steve Watson, a first term Democrat, drew no challenger from either party and is thus assured of another four-year term.
Court Clerks, Assessor draw no challengers; Coroner draws one
Incumbent Republican Chancery Clerk Annette M. Hickey has no challenger from either party, nor does incumbent Democrat Circuit Clerk Phyllis Stanford. Incumbent Democrat County Assessor Tameri Dunnam drew no challenger from either party.
Incumbent Democrat County Coroner Pam Boman faces a challenge in the Democratic primary from Gabriel Wilson.